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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Just when you think you are winning the battle...

Sometimes I have this internal yearn to be mother of the year, chiropractor of the year, wife of the year, friend of the year, volunteer of the year...you get the picture, meanwhile I run myself ragged trying to reach this unrealistic plateau in which I scrutinize myself heavily if I under perform or come up a little bit short. It may be the Capricorn in me or just pure psychosis that has yet to be resolved in therapy, either way I plow forward in my strife, continuously trying to meet this unobtainable expectation.

One of the areas of discord are my child's eating habits. Please stop laughing I haven't even gotten to the funny part yet. As a health care practitioner and promoter of the theory of proper nutrition being the foundation of good health, I am very concerned over the possible side effects of a four year old diet that consists primarily of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. This is what she wants every day...or a grilled cheese...or if I am lucky cottage cheese. While I am certain that my child is not going to be suffering from early onset osteoporosis, I do feel as if her body needs more than enriched bleached flour and processed cheeses to achieve proper growth and development. Since I am a fairly advanced chef, I thought I would whip up some homemade mac and cheese, Lima beans, and fried catfish in hopes that we could almost complete one full balanced nutrition pyramid. This is how it went down.

"Okay, Momma made your favorite...Mac and cheese, coming at you warm and bubbly straight out of the oven." With a hopeful smile I slid the plastic princess plate across the counter as she sat opposite me on her stool. Her head dropped, eyeballs quickly scanning the plate, her long, light brown hair flopping forward like Cousin It, covering her face so that I could not see her expression. A second later I see the face: brows slightly frowned, eyes straight and direct, lower lip out.

"I don't like this mac and cheese" she says matter of fact, as if this is the end of the conversation and I should just turn around and pull something else out of my sleeve. I take a deep breath in, calming the internal fire rising from within that wants to just scream "why is mine not good enough?". Knowing full well that I am the bigger person, I thought it to be a good time to reason with her.

"Oh, no," I said. "You love mac and cheese. You used to eat this all of the time when you were a baby. In fact you didn't even like the other stuff, you would only eat my homemade macaroni and cheese." OK it was a slight fib, but I was really trying. Parenting tip # 1 : sometimes it is possible to sway their opinion if they really believe they used to like it as a baby. Again this is just a tip, not accurate one hundred percent of the time.

"Well I don't like this mac and cheese anymore." she replies directly as my point flies right out the window.

"It's the same as the other stuff except that I made it with real milk, butter, and cheese and cooked it in the oven. You haven't even tried it. Just take one bite." Reluctantly she pries her lips open ever so slightly, enough to force one piece of elbow macaroni through the tight space.

"I still don't like it" she hops down from her stool and runs around the counter to the food pantry, opening the cabinet and pulling out a box of the processed garbage I am so adamantly trying to overrule. "This is the kind I like right here." She hands me the box as if it is not apparent enough already. Sting, sting, sting...I can feel my heart burning directly under my chest. Suddenly I changed directions with my thought process.

"See this nice Valentine you made me this morning? Remember how you were so proud and happy to give it to me and all you really wanted was for me to like it?" she nodded in understanding. "How would you feel if I said that I didn't like it...it should be purple instead of red?" Her eyes got serious in deep thought, as if I was really hitting home with her emotions. This is it, I thought, I am getting there, round two goes to Momma. "Don't you think that would hurt your feelings when you made me that special Valentine and I said I didn't like it? That's how I feel when I make you something special and you won't even try it."

I looked up at her to see if I was getting anywhere. She nodded in understanding and got a look of slight empathy in her eye, feeling where I was going with the conversation. Just as I thought I had finally got through, she changed her tactic as well. She reached across the counter and grabbed my hand, ever so gently. Looking me directly in the eye with the utmost innocence she says, "Mommy, I do not like Green Eggs and Ham!" It was all I could do to contain my hysterics and keep my composure, trying desperately to hold on to some minute thread of the point I was making, but it was useless. Round three goes to the child!

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